Nigeria And The Burden of Self-Serving Opportunist.
“A nation cannot grow beyond the collective will (vision) of the people”.
The problem with Nigeria is hydra-headed, so it would be foolhardy for me, or anyone to point at a particular thing as the problem with Nigeria. Be that as it may, we can always point at one of the heads of the problem. In this article, I will like to concentrate on the self-serving nature of Nigerians.
As someone that has a penchant for history, I can unapologetically say that one of our oldest problems is our self-serving and opportunistic nature. From the day we got our ‘pseudo freedom’ (as some would describe It), it has been laden with the selfish interest of individuals. This is why there has been an unanswered question after many years of Independence as to whether we have a Nigerian dream?
The foundation perhaps might be the root cause, as we were amalgamated in the first place for selfish reasons. But that has stayed old enough for the needed reinforcement to have been done. Why has the reinforcement process taken forever to be accomplished? The answer is the same-self serving opportunistic nature of Nigerians!
Briefly let’s take a recap.
When we made negotiations for self governance, the internal fight over who will get what was fiercer than the fight for freedom. The result was the ill feelings that culminated into the bloody civil war that followed.
Thereafter, the creation of States and their capitals was another display of selfishness. The yardstick for the creation of states and their capitals were mainly dependent on the interest of the political/ military gladiators at the time. No consideration of a national roadmap or national dream. The yardstick was purely the personal interest of an individual or group of ‘friends’.
This was closely followed by resource control and wealth distribution. Again, there was nothing like the collective interest of the people, or a nation as it is seen in other successful nations. It was all a matter of what I can get for myself and I.
This singular attribute of self-centeredness has permeated into our DNA and selflessness has become alien to us. This is why every struggle, (no matter the disguise of the purpose and intent made known to the public), there is always a hidden selfish agenda embedded in it.
From the days of the struggle for independence to the era of NADECO, the frontiers of every struggle in Nigeria most often than not, have a selfish motive far from the collective good of us all. Those who fought for our independence took the role of our previous oppressors and did worse, just the same way those who claimed to have fought for our ‘ever nascent’ democracy from the shackles of military dictatorship, are today more ferocious and intolerant than those they fought against.
With the outcome of the famous #EndSars protest and the international attention it attracted, a new set of opportunist has risen. They are once again, trying to fly on the rave of the moment as always to push their selfish agenda under the guise of national interest.
For how long shall we continue to rigmarole in this quagmire?
How can a sixty-year-old man be registering a political party with the name ‘Youth’ just because he wants to corner some youths whose emotions won’t allow them to see the smokescreen?
Even if it is a youth that is flaunting it, will you remain a youth forever?
If the only qualifications they have is the ‘youthful zest’, then, like Apostle Paul puts it, they are of all generations most miserable.
This nation cannot grow if we all look after our selfish interest alone, without considering how it affects the next person. The bus driver that hikes transport fare because he sees an ‘opportunity’ to exploit stranded masses, the contractor that carries out inferior jobs to maximise profit, the employee that plays with official time because he is not been monitored, the employer who underpays an employee because he can get away with it, are all as guilty as the political and military leaders they criticise.
We must collectively rebuild this nation on the foundation of selflessness and service.
IDEDE Oseyande, writes from Benin City.
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.